Instructables

How to Make Your own Plasma Cutter.... (Plasma Cutter Kits Coming Soon!!)

Picture of How to Make Your own Plasma Cutter.... (Plasma Cutter Kits Coming Soon!!)
ad face.JPG

Check out new video of the Plasanator on utube.com

http://youtu.be/enELHZ7dP2I

This Ebook is designed for Guys and Gals who like to create tools and machinery.

I hope my Ebook gives you hope that no matter how hard a project may seem, keep plugging away until you finish and you will succeed.

I spent 3 years putting this together and now finally all my hard work and research has paid off.

I studied diagrams from commercial venders, but to no luck. They tend to leave a lot out – on purpose - so it’s hard to reproduce their design. I’ve see different attempts at people making their own on You Tube and other sites, but what a death trap. Messy water resistors and wiring like a darn Christmas tree.

So I began reading books and articles on their workings and took my home schooled-knowledge of electronics to build my own plasma cutter. I was determined; failure was not an option.

I started by collecting parts from old microwaves, stoves, water heaters, air conditioners, car parts and more in the hopes of creating a low budget way to create a plasma cutter for myself. I mounted it all on a simple piece of scrap wood; well it’s scrap wood now. We, didn’t need that table anyway (shhhhhhh don’t tell the wife).

Then one day it all came together. I hit the power switch, placed the head to the metal, started the arc, felt the air kick and then a second hard kick (the current being drawn into play). Then BAM, it was slicing through quarter inch steel like a hot knife through butter.

How sweet it sounded! I felt the amazement of completing a project that I just couldn’t let go of.

So, take your time, enjoy and be safe.

The Plasaman



 
Remove these adsRemove these ads by Signing Up
1-40 of 118Next »
Plasanator (author) 2 months ago

Hey all just solder a wire to the hv coil instead of zip tying it and cover solder with silicone of any kind.

wkdavistx4 months ago
If i am putting 240v to the contactor does that mean I'm putting 240v to the air solenoid? I am also reading 650v on the dc side of the rectifier. I am replacing both of these parts (fried the 110v solenoid).
Thank you.
Plasanator (author)  wkdavistx2 months ago

No then you have it hooked up wrong.

The air solenoid goes before the contactor on the input side through a relay.

pgladek1 year ago
Sorry, I also forgot to ask...it might be hard to find a ford / chevy ignition coil out here, so is there anything specific I should look for when I pick one out, or any minimum specs needed? Also, is there any purpose to mounting the stud on the ignition coil, other than as a place to attach the connections? And what does the water heater element specifically do?

its a dump load. instead of a large amount of copper or aluminum. he went with that tho it needs a bigger heat sink tho.

Plasanator (author)  pgladek1 year ago
here are some picures of one I done a few months ago.
019.JPG021.JPG035.JPG036.JPG040.JPG042.JPG
Plasanator (author)  pgladek1 year ago
Yes the studd is just for mounting purposes but instead go ahead and solder a lead to coil and fill around it with silicone for protection.
I do that now for all my cutters.
The element is your load resister and is what draws and dictates the amount of current used.
Two in parallel will draw more current for cutting thicker material.
My new unit I used some square tubing from treadmill and a blower also from a microwave to cool coils down to last longer.
astral_mage4 months ago

this pic should've been fist page not third or forth in line.

wkdavistx5 months ago

If you were building one that was 40A, what would you use to control the output amperage while cutting? I was thinking about a solid state voltage regulator like this one:

http://www.auberins.com/index.php?main_page=produc...

Thoughts?

Thanks,

Keith

SSVR40A2.jpg
Plasanator (author)  wkdavistx5 months ago

I don't build them that big so I can't say, sorry.

pclifford5 months ago

(Please correct me if im wrong)

i was wondering if your build is using a frequency from your instructions i dont see anything that would generate a frequency other than starting arc. the reason im asking is i have a wire feed welder that im going to add the plasma cutting feature to it and use both welder and cutter. the welder is set up to use ac only witch i can convert to dc by using your instruction and the add a separate hook up for the plasma cutter but in order to for the welder to work it needs to have some sort of freq..

From my under standing a plasma cutter operates at 10khz or more how is yours working with converting it to dc it should be a pulsing dc at 60 HZ + or - and you add the CAPS in there witch would add a smoothing affect to the frequencies and bring it down to almost nothing.

Thank you

Plasanator (author)  pclifford5 months ago

no just 60 hz

wkdavistx7 months ago
Plasanator,
Thanks for all the time and effort put into this. Great job!
Any thoughts on using a 208V/208V transformer from a UPS system and 2 heating elements? I figure this will give me 24A at 208V at the torch and may be able to cut 1/2" steel.
Thanks,
Keith
Plasanator (author)  wkdavistx5 months ago

It will work fine if around 5kva but 3/8 inch will be most your gonna cut through.

Plasanator (author)  wkdavistx7 months ago
Yep that's right 208v is just fine.

So I was able to procure a 5kva transformer (240 primary - 240/120 secondary). If I run 240 to the contactor what happens to the capacitors when connected to double the voltage? Are 350v capacitors ok? What other changes should I make besides using 2 heating elements?

Thanks again!

DanW136 months ago

Joe I have to ask a few question, one is about those Heating elements which you say are just current resistors….Do these ever get hot to where a fan may/might be needed to keep them cooled ? The other is about the Capacitors you show in your phots that are Blue in color but I don't recall seeing any specs as to the size required for the plasma cutter, if you don't mind can you give me the specs on what the min/Max sizes are for those 2 Capacitors please ? Thank's, I hope to have one build by end of this month if all goes well with rounding up parts :)

Plasanator (author)  DanW135 months ago

Hey Dan yes they will so I mounted my new ones in a steel tube from a tread mill and put a blower from a microwave on it to cool them down.

1800 microfarads at 350 volts minumum the lager the better.

mattc1726 months ago
what type of equipment would you find the 2 cap in
Plasanator (author)  mattc1726 months ago
the big caps are on ebay many to look at around 25 to 50 bucks
mattc1727 months ago
for my run capacitor can use a ge 97f9383, in place of the one you used. if i do what would be the out come.
Plasanator (author)  mattc1727 months ago
NOOOOOOOOOOOOO this is not the right kind of cap and its way to low in microfarrads.
can i use it in place of the microwave cap
Plasanator (author)  mattc1726 months ago
Yes that would be fine.
dthompson329 months ago
great job,, where can i salvage the high voltage bridge rectifier. i can't seem to find anything that uses one that can handle this much voltage,,other than just buying a new one, thx
Plasanator (author)  dthompson327 months ago
Its a 3 phase rectifier and you only need it to be 220 volts max
Hi kaolex, Thanks a millon
kaoalex8 months ago
Hi Kenneth,

I used this schematic.

You can found more details in the PowerLabs site.
http://www.powerlabs.org/flybackdriver.htm

I used this type of flyback with internal diode.
circuitdiagram.giffly-back-b323453-pcm1441-42-43-44-45-46-rcp-_1_600_false.jpgcircuitdiagram.gif
kaoalex8 months ago
Plasanator, Thanks a lot for sharing this incredible project. I did some progress to construct mine own plasma cutter machine based on you schematic. Check out the first cut.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eM7arB8Gvoc

I used a TV flyback instead of a car coil. I plugged the HV+ to the tip of torch. As you can see in the video i still have some difficulty to start the plasma. Have you any idea to improve my machine? Thanks a lot!
Hi,

Can you post schematics of you TV flyback setup? I'm having trouble with the car coil, maybe I can solve-it with your setup

Thanks
More pics of the same thing!
DSCN0001.JPGDSCN0002.JPGDSCN0003.JPGDSCN0004.JPG
Hi Joe, The 30k goes to the main plasma head which in turn goes to the caps & rectifier right? Then the extra wire from one of the coils is the added (yellow wire), right? Does the paper clip with the yellow wire has to touch the cap (tip) of the plasma gun? I've attached some photos of the high current circuit and plasma head details. Is it right? Sorry to annoy you again, your help is much appreciated. Thanks Ken.
DSCN0004.JPG
Hi Joe,

I have build your project but end-it-up with a disaster.

I couldn't get the plasma to fire. Played a lot with extra wire to the plasma head and air pressure but in vain. I've even added a pre-charge circuit to charge up the caps as it kept on tripping my house 60Amp circuit breaker.

Finally it ended up with a massive boom. The 80 amp 3 phase rectifier did short out!
Why? I think the rectifier could not stand 30,000 volts from the car coil. Still have not checked the caps.

Any suggestions please? I really want this to work.

Thanks
Kenneth
DSCN0514.JPG
Plasanator (author)  kennethagiusmosta8 months ago
Hey Ken lets start from the beginning.
Ok first remember this, the 30 k volts from the coil don't travel through the rectifier only to tip then to work pc for a split second.
I believe your short since it was so big came from a defective head.
To test this once you get parts replaced, take off the tip and shield and lay it to the side.
Now urn on power nothing should trip if all is connected right.
I had this happen once so far while building one for a friend.
His trigger in gun was not heat shrinked in head and it blew up in his hand.
Test switch in head that they don't have connection to main lead going to tip should be none.
Let me know if this helps.
ShadeStride9 months ago
Awesome project. I purchased what I thought was the exact same cutter head shown in the parts list picture. When I got it in the mail it didn't include the hose and the electrode lead, it was just the torch assembly. How can I attach a lead for the electrode? Do I just solder it to the copper air fitting in the torch or some other way? Thanks for your help.
twenglish19 months ago
What would you say is the minimum open circuit voltage between positive clamp and negative electrode required? I am planning to build this and I was thinking about using multiple microwave transformers rewound to step-down the mains and increase current, then the transformers will be placed in series to get the voltage back up to what is required for the cutter
pinhead198410 months ago
Have you been able to determine the duty cycle and the thickest material you can cut with this setup (120v input with one heater element and with two elements)? I'm gathering the materials to build this and am wondering what I might expect for its performance abilities.
Do you see any reason why i couldn't use an NST in place of the ignition coil (other than frequency control)?
BTW, nice 'ible.
Plasanator (author) 10 months ago
Yes that's right and cap helps with load burst.
I wouldn't use audition with this that's over thinking it.
It's about as simple as it gets now, no need to complicate things.
(removed by author or community request)
Plasanator (author)  kennethagiusmosta10 months ago
70 psi works better.
I use mains myself with circuit breaker and never had a problem.
I would need number on rectifier to say how yours works for sure.
Good luck and keep it safe.
1-40 of 118Next »
Pro

Get More Out of Instructables

Already have an Account?

close

PDF Downloads
As a Pro member, you will gain access to download any Instructable in the PDF format. You also have the ability to customize your PDF download.

Upgrade to Pro today!